My name is Don Hardy. Rob Deans and I formed a group in the early 70's called the Bozo Brothers. We both came from fairly influential groups on the Victoria scene - Maple Rock and Moxie.
One night at a small club in Victoria called the Hand in the Hand we met almost by accident and jammed. A little history.
Maple Rock originated from Courtenay, we had been playing concerts and dances in Victoria but based in Courtenay for over a year. When we graduated from high school the band migrated to Victoria, which became our base. As we played the usual venues in Victoria we noticed local musicians, whom we admired, standing in the back of the room, usually near the door as if they were ready to make their escape. These were people like Bill Sample, Lee Oliphant, Jerry Adolph, Norm McPherson, Dave Vidal, John Booth...the prominent group of musicians who formed the "scene", anyway when we would stop for a break, I would or one of the other guys would make their way back to introduce ourselves and they would be gone. We thought this was the weirdest thing and after a while we thought the local musicians didn't want to have anything to do with us. We had no idea what for but it did pry on us and eventually was the demise of the band.
Our feelings were, if our peers didn't like us or a our material how could we carry on as a band. It wasn't until years later when Bill Sample and I were touring together that I found out what the deal was I was blown away. He said Maple Rock was so intimidating they didn't know what to talk with us about (but they loved our material and arrangements). This is a little long winded but I am just giving you some history, anyway I started going out to some of the night clubs to try and meet some of the locals and connect.
So, as I was saying I went to the Hand in the Hand or Hans in the Hand (can't remember if that was the real name). I recognized Dave Vidal and Harry Creech, Lee Oliphant and a few others. Being shy myself I was reluctant to barge in so I sat at the back and watched. This club was run by Dutch fellow who's name escapes me (maybe Han's) but his intention was to have a club where musicians could get together and jam. So as I was sitting there I notices this huge guy come to the door way and was talking with the Dutch guy. He kept ducking his head down to hear and talk. What made him so imposing was his hair and big fur jacket. He literally filled the doorway. As he made his way into the club he was waved over to Dave Vidal's table and sat down. I recognized him from Moxie - Rob Deans - Keyboard. The jam that was happening finished and it looked like Dave, Rob and Lee Oliphant were going to get up. I don't remember exactly what happened but I ended up getting up and playing with them. I think we played a slow blues to start with and by the time we were into it it was obvious chemistry was happening and Rob and I were thinking as one. It was an amazing experience. We all talked briefly after and parted as friends with the intention of playing again sometime.
Some time passed and our keyboard player (Doug Colman) said he couldn't take the freeze out from the locals musicians any longer and announced he was going to go to medical school. This really took us by surprise because we were set to record an album with Tom Northcotte (sp) to produce along with Robby King. We held auditions to replace him and the only two who showed any interest we Bill Sample and Rob Deans. By now Rob and I were close friends and jamming together. As the auditions unwound, we, as a band realized Doug could not be replaced. It had nothing to do with musicianship because these were (are) two of the finest keyboard players I have ever been privileged to play with, but more of chemistry thing. As time unfolded Rob and I played in many combinations of bands that included - Dave Vidal, Lee Oliphant, Derek Walsh, Chris Butterfield, and a host of other lunnies. One night Rob and I were talking about types of music that interested us and we both agreed jazz, classical, blues were big ones on the list. We had heard of a band in England also exploring these area called The Nice. This sparked us and we started putting together our own arrangements with these genres in mind. The name came about by accident. I use to have a tee shirt with Bozo the clown on it and someone kept referring to us as the Bozo Brother because we were inseparable, never one without the other. This was the beginning of a friendship that still stands today. Bozo played the clubs in Victoria and developed a strong following of fans including quite a few musicians. Bruce Allen was interested in managing the band but he said we needed a singer. We discussed a new artist - Brian Adams but we thought his material was too - light. We even traveled to San Francisco to audition a bass player/singer but the writing was on the wall, Bozo would not carry on.
I had the privilege of seeing the Bozo Brothers at the Club Tango in Victoria in the early 70's. Awesome, twosome. These guys puzzled everybody because there was only two, but once they started playing, the puzzlement went away. I remember another time when they had a full band. The rest of the band couldn't keep up with the two Bozo Brothers. Great memories. Greg McQuarrie. Living in Terrace B.C.
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